Legal definition of misdemeanor
Felonies Legal Terminology

misdemeanor

1
a lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time for up to one year.
In contrast to felonies, which can be punished by a state prison term for more than 1 year. Misdemeanors are tried in municipal court, police or justice courts.

Typical misdemeanors include: petty theft, disturbing the peace, simple assault and battery, drunk driving without injury to others, drunkenness in public, various traffic violations, public nuisances and some crimes which can be charged either as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances and the discretion of the District Attorney.
See: felony
2
In majority of US states a misdemeanor is an offense, other than a "traffic infraction, " for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of fifteen days may be imposed, but for which a sentence to a term of imprisonment in excess of one year cannot be imposed.
Source: NY Penal Code.
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